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Council tax exemptions

Sometimes you may not have to pay council tax on a property.

Most exemptions only apply when no one lives in a property, but sometimes occupied properties are exempt.

Exempt properties

The following properties are exempt from paying council tax. If you are unsure whether your property falls into one of these categories please get in touch.

Unoccupied properties

All exemptions listed below are for unoccupied properties. Unless stated, you may not have to pay council tax for as long as each situation lasts.

  • unoccupied property owned, and last occupied, by a registered charity. This applies for a maximum period of 6 months. If the property remains unoccupied after this period, a 50% charge is then applicable
  • property unoccupied because the person who would normally have to pay the council tax is in prison
  • property unoccupied because the person who would normally have to pay the council tax is staying long-term in a care home, hostel or hospital
  • property unoccupied because the person who would normally have to pay the council tax has died, and neither probate nor letters of administration have yet been granted. This applies until probate/ letters of administration have been granted and for 6 months afterwards (unless someone else becomes the owner)
  • property unoccupied because the law says nobody is allowed to live in it
  • property kept vacant for a religious minister to move into
  • property unoccupied because the person who would normally have to pay the council tax is living at another address where they are being cared for other than in a hospital, nursing home or care home
  • property unoccupied because the person who would normally have to pay the council tax is living at another address where they are caring for someone who is elderly, ill or disabled
  • property unoccupied because the person who last lived there, and who would normally have to pay council tax, is now a student living somewhere else
  • property unoccupied because the mortgagee has repossessed it
  • property unoccupied because it is the responsibility of a trustee in bankruptcy
  • an unoccupied caravan pitch or boat mooring
  • unoccupied domestic property which is part of another domestic property and cannot be rented out separately (for example, unoccupied "granny flats")

Visit our empty properties page for details of empty properties which are subject to a discount.

Occupied properties

The exemptions below are for occupied properties, and they last for as long as the property meets the description:

  • hall of residence for students
  • property where all the residents are full-time students and/or student nurses
  • UK armed forces accommodation
  • visiting forces accommodation
  • property where all the residents are under 18 years old
  • property where all the residents are severely mentally impaired and would have to pay the council tax if this exemption did not exist
  • property where all the residents are diplomats
  • domestic property which is part of another domestic property, and the person living in it is a dependent relative of a person living in the main property

How to apply

If you think you may be exempt from paying council tax on your property contact our Customer Contact Centre to discuss on 0300 790 0381.